Discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 tool is generating fears that teams of scientists are competing against each other to bring about genetic changes in humans. Although European and American public opinion is hostile to these changes, countries such as India and China are “more open to the debate, particularly with regard to the issue of disease eradication”. They benefit from “public support for this type of eugenic research” and more lenient legislation; “two key factors that contribute to the emergence of genetic enhancement technology”.
This is a scientific approach that could serve China’s ambitions well: “If ethical and health objections are put to one side, genetic enhancement has the potential to generate numerous national benefits. Even marginal improvements through gene editing could have significant effects on a country’s economic growth. Some genes could give certain athletes an advantage in tough international competitions. Other genes could impact upon violent tendencies, thereby suggesting that genetic modifications could reduce the crime rate.”
Le Point (21/11/2016) ; Slate (Vincent Ménilève) 21/11/2016